Friday, November 21, 2014

nothing gold can stay

The leaves dazzled, fell, and now lay in a crunchy carpet all around. Naia keeps asking, "Am I still 4 years old mama even though it's not October anymore?" What an all at once freeing and frustrating feeling it must be to have zero concept of time or age.

We managed to rake up the piles of leaves from under the oak tree before the marina landscapers got to them, which meant the kids could rake and jump and throw to their heart's content.

Now the wind has kicked in, the temperatures have plunged, and the amber glow is laying in heaps beneath stark naked trees. The shrink wrap company is scheduled for this week. We're just a turkey dinner away from the start of winter. I am making my annual promise to myself to face the dark season with a brave heart and positive attitude.

And I am holding tight to the last bits of gold.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Last Call

The chill is setting in. The heater is working hard and barely keeping up. The "W" word has been used more than once around here. So rather than focus on the dark days ahead, I will choose to be grateful that our last sail of the season was a perfect one. Nothing broke. Nobody cried or pooped or squabbled. The wind was agreeable and the seas were calm (unlike our second to last sail of the season where the winds were angry and the seas were drunk, but let's not go there.) It was sunshine and blue skies and family who are also friends, and a chance to appreciate our awesome boat and the never boring waters we call home.

(Cousins who just moved to the area, yay!)

It was a beautiful reminder to hang tight, because winter won't last forever.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

i heart sailing

We finally got to exhale this season with Naia. I remember when we reached that time with Zach. He was about the same age Naia is now, about 4, and Doug and I looked at each other and said, "Hey, we don't have to have one eyeball on him 24/7 anymore to keep him safe. He has a head on his shoulders, he knows the rules and routines, we can exhale and look the other way now."

It's not that we're helicopter parents, quite the polar opposite. However living on a boat and sailing on a boat with little kids requires super powers of supervision. And of course it doesn't mean we're not supervising now... it just means we can exhale and look the other way every now and again.

And you know what happened in the midst of all of this. I remembered something amazing. I love to sail.

Weird right? Not so much though. You would not believe the number of people (sadly especially women) who cruise and live aboard but hate to sail, don't know how to sail, or are extremely nervous and unsettled by sailing. People get into this lifestyle for many reasons. Many are following the dream of a spouse, some are in it for the travel, some are trying to check something off the bucket list before it's too late, some are trying to prove how different they are, some just like the idea of living outside the mainstream, and so on.

But I started this whole crazy journey and lifestyle way back when because I actually like to sail. And this season I finally found that part of me again.

It started earlier in the summer when a local captain and friend (check out her web site here, she is a fabulous captain and instructor for anyone looking to learn ) invited me to sail with her and some other women in a regatta this summer. Racing is how I really got into sailing back in my early 20's and it's something I have missed a lot. And as we were out there I realized that although I do love this alternative lifestyle, and the travel, and the community, and the closeness to nature and each other, I also love to just sail. Sailing a small monohull around in circles on a hot day, going nowhere, but just sailing for the fun of it, yes! It was so good, and I was so grateful she gave me the opportunity to rediscover that joy again.

And as we were out sailing this month, going nowhere in particular, it hit me again. The hard parts are coming to a close. I am no longer chief baby holder, toddler chaser, and food prep machine. They can handle themselves now. Not completely, but enough so that I can enjoy the sailing part of sailing, instead of just feeling like I am chasing and soothing kids in a wobbly home.

Big boat, small boat, my boat, someone else's boat, going somewhere special, or going around the buoys... it totally doesn't matter. It just feels good being out there.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Pippi and Sherlock

A long time ago we used to throw Halloween parties. Big, joyful gatherings for the kids to go wild and savor this holiday that is so purely for little people.  And then I had an October baby. 

So now I am just grateful that other people love Halloween as much as I do, so that the kids can enjoy this time without me having to exert any effort.

We carved the flock of pumpkins that landed on our boat. Zach lined them up along the dock so that they could be on display for anyone strolling by.

Zach decided to be classic Sherlock Holmes this year and Naia wanted to be Pippi Longstocking. 

(Sherlock dropped his pipe overboard.)

And when the big night came, we had more than the usual amount of kids boat trick-or-treating. Aside from the neighborhood kids, there were some passing through kid boats and some land based friends of boat kids who joined in making it a mighty herd stomping up the docks. 

Zach was blissed out with his friends collecting sweets and treats. Naia was... overwhelmed. "Too many big kids!", she declared. "And nobody is following the rules! They can't run on the dock." It was just too much for her. 

And she was under the weather to start with, so she only lasted about 20 minutes. My girl who has a huge sweet tooth suddenly had no interest in candy and chocolate, she just wanted to come home, have a mama made pumpkin chocolate chip muffin and cuddle.

It was a happy Halloween.

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